Abolitionist Spotlight: MARIAME KABA
Ms. Kaba is a leader in the transformative justice and prison-industrial-complex abolition movements. She says she came to her current politics on the criminal punishment system through numerous points of access, including growing up in New York in the early '80s and witnessing “conflagrations of racialized violence”—the death of Michael Stewart in 1983 and the Central Park Five in 1989; and seeing how disparities in race and class led to selective criminalization of “identical behaviors:” rich kids at Lower East Side private schools freely did every kind of drug imaginable, while the kids she grew up with got arrested for doing the same thing on street corners.
A sociologist, organizer, educator, and curator, Mariame Kaba is currently a researcher in residence at the Social Justice Institute at Barnard in New York. Ms. Kaba is also the founder and director of Project NIA, an organization with a grassroots approach to ending youth incarceration, and co-founder of Survived and Punished. Ms. Kaba’s work has been influential for those looking outside the criminal punishment system to account for interpersonal violence. “Our culture does not encourage people who cause harm to take responsibility. We have an adversarial model where the person who is actually placed on trial is the survivor.”
To learn more, listen to this interview with Chris Hayes, read her OP-ED, follow @prisonculture on Twitter.